There is no consensus regarding the ageing effect and athletic performance. However, it is evident from studies that endurance performance peaks at the late 20s and early 30s, and there is a linear decline that begins from 40s and onwards. The fantastic performance is still possible post-40 yet real-life examples where a person or athlete maintains the same level of endurance in post-40s is somehow exceptional. Do you think about the possible reason why performance decline kicks in as you grow older? Well, there are various plausible theories put forward in this relation and precisely shed light on how athletic performance tails off at a steady rate as you advance in age.
Possible reasons why athletes get slower as they get older
No universal agreement is there emphasizing on how long you can be productive in your athletic career. However, there are specific physical changes that tend to slow any individual as they get older.
1. Physical deterioration
A study suggests there is an actual physical deterioration that happens as you advance in age. It includes imbalance hormones, increased body mass, reduced muscle mass, specific biomechanics changes, and recovery time becomes increased, and reduction in VO2 max.
2. Injuries Interrupt the training regimes
The likelihood of injuries stops you to some extent, from continuing the challenging workout training. Loss of muscle mass and increased body mass maximize the chance of getting an injury, which often acts as a stumbling block when trying something tricky or challenging in the late 40s or early 50s.
3. Psychological factors reduce desire and drive
Certain psychological factors contribute to lowering your performance, e.g. as you grow old, you tend to lack motivation, and you feel tired of all the hard work you have done in your life. All these factors combine and make the overall growth process stunt, and you eventually get slower as you grow older.
4. Accumulated life stress hampers the productivity
When you are young, you have fewer responsibilities that can hamper your effectiveness. But when you grow old, you will likely have more responsibilities on your shoulder, including work responsibilities, saving for older age, parenthood, and all accumulated stress diversify your interest and impact your athletic performance.
Better training assist you in staying at your peak longer
The reduced performance in athletes lives kick-in after post-40s.With better training and result-driven recovery practices, it is safe to assume we can see more athletes in their late 40s in mainstream sports. Certain amendments need to add in a workout plan, and the first is training smarter, not harder. Working out smartly can reduce the chances of injuries by maximizing gains of training. Workout planning needs to change with age. Some personal trainers at miami craft bespoke plans, considering the ageing factor and the performance endurance.
High-intensity interval training has a prime focus on the quality of workout rather than the volume of physical activity. It can help to increase the aerobic capacity in older people. There are also other physical activities that should be part of workouts like weight lifting and yoga. These two have a direct impact on maintaining the right volume of muscle mass by improving flexibility. More emphasis should be given on ‘Active recovery strategies’. Running or swimming improve sleeping which is crucial for athletes of all ages.
The ‘Sweet Spot’
There is a sweet spot in every game where your mind and body works together to give peak performance. In most of the sports, the sweet spot falls in the late 20s and early 30s. However, athletes in Olympics competing have won models in their late 50s, but most of them come from sports requiring more skills and less aerobic and anaerobic power. When talking about endurance events, the maximum age limit is 40.
Training advice to assist older athletes maintain fitness
You need to maintain a steady speed as you grow older and not readily accept the fact that you slow down when you get old.
Hill running or interval training will have a direct impact on improving your stamina and endurance. Weight training also tones the body and maintains the right level of fast-twitch muscle fibres. Creatine supplements also play a vital role in maintaining the best performance with age and is helpful during repetitive high power exercise sessions.
Performance decline is not always associated with physical changes. As we advance in age, the intrinsic motivation to train the body begins to diminish. When an athlete grows older, inspiration from setting records shifts to remaining active and healthy. The physical changes like increased recovery timing, reduced strength of muscles, imbalance hormones, reduction in VO2 max, and changes in the biochemical process collectively lessen the overall performance. However, working out smarter and putting some excellent recovery strategies in service contribute to enhancing athletes’ overall performance at an older age.